Dexter’s Laboratory, remember it? As a child who didn’t know much beyond cartoons, I always wished that a laboratory like this could exist in real life. Well, turns out, it exists and it is far bigger the child in me could have ever imagined. While you run around all day and sleep peacefully through the night, this laboratory, the International Space Station, hovers over your head at all times.
Thank you for stumbling upon How Big Are They and today, we will fly into the realms of space to explore just how big the International Space Station is. Put on your spacesuits!
The largest man-made object in space, the ISS is 365 feet wide and 240 feet high. That’s bigger than the width of an average football pitch. Imagine a football pitch hovering above your head? Yeah, that’s the International Space Station. And you don’t even need to imagine it as the ISS is so big that it is visible with the naked eye from the Earth. For something floating around in space, created by none other than us humans, that’s pretty big. As a more direct comparison, the International Space Station is almost two times wider than a Boeing 747, also known as the Queen of the Skies. Looks like we just found who the king is!
You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that a structure so big would weigh a ton too. Well, not just a ton or two, it weighs more than 408 tons or 408,000 kilograms. This is more than the average weight of a hundred elephants, 50 horses, 40 bulls and 36 giraffes, all combined. All of it traveling mile after mile by itself, in darkness and in light, around the planet we call home.
Speaking of traveling miles, the International Space Station travels 420,000 miles, or 675,924 km, every single day. That’s not really a lot. In fact, you too can cover the same distance in the same amount of time. All you need to do is drive the entire length of the United States… 265 times in one day. Okay, maybe, it is a lot. But instead of driving the length of US, how about circling the Earth? Well, if you were to do so on a BMW at 70 miles an hour, it would take just more than 342 days to complete one trip. On an airplane? About 43 days. Better sit on a bullet shot from a gun as it will circle the Earth in just under 15 days. How about the Space Station? 90 minutes. Yeah, you read that right. I can’t even.
How does it manage to cover such distances? A consistent speed of 17,500 miles an hour, or 28,000 kilometers, certainly helps. This is just amazing when you consider its size, weight and complexity. In fact, the International Space Station has traveled more than 800 kilometers by the time you read till this point. Late for a date? You know what to ride. Although, the ride might be a bit expensive.
Talking of expense, the International Space Stations is by far the most expensive single object in the entire world, or rather out of it. How expensive? $50 billion? $70 billion? Surely not more than $100 billion? For the price of one ISS, you can buy 420 Boeing 747s. In fact, it is enough to pay the national debt of New Zealand and Pakistan combined. For the more humanitarian people, you could feed more than 7.5 billion people for a day. That’s right, the entire population of the world could be fed just from the cost of the International Space Station. What’s the price tag now, you wonder? 150 billion dollars!
Costing as much as it does, every penny put into it is invaluable to us. So how does it benefit the Earth, you may ask? Well, if you have ever heard of extracting pure drinking water from urine, thank the ISS and NASA. Ever seen somebody with a robotic arm or limb? Tell that person to thank NASA. Can see clearly without any spectacles because of LASIK? Time to show gratitude towards NASA and the International Space Station. There is so much that ISS does for us, earthlings, that it can be its own big post. Maybe sometime later!
For now, let’s just appreciate the marvel of science that the ISS is. A structure the size of a football field, weight of a thousand cars, traveling at speeds unimaginable… Yeah, that’s some Star Wars shit right over our heads! If you’re truly amazed, please share this with your friends at the speed of light! As always, I will catch you in the next one.
Also Read: You – How Big Are You?